Prepared To Vote 101: A Guide to Voting

Prepared To Vote 101: A Guide to Voting

Voting Matters. The 2020 election is quickly approaching and KIPP SoCal is partnering with When We All Vote to make sure that our alumni, team, and communities are prepared to cast their ballots on election day, November 3rd. Through voting, we can all make our voices heard, our issues seen, and our actions felt; we can change the future for our communities, our state, and the nation. And yet, far too few Americans vote, and that is especially true for young Americans. In 2016, nearly 109 million eligible voters in the United States did not vote. But it takes all of us reminding our friends and families to register and vote. The steps are simple and below is a guide to make our voices heard:

You Can Register & Vote in California If You:

  • Are a U.S. citizen
  • Are a resident of CA
  • Are at least 18 years old or older on Election Day
  • Not be currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
  • Not be currently found to be mentally incompetent to vote by a court

Register To Vote

It's as easy as 1-2-3. 

Step 1: Visit the KIPP Votes Voter Registration Page:  

Step 2: Follow the prompts on the screen to register.

Step 3: Check your email account for your completed voter registration form. Dependent on your home state, you may be asked to print it, sign it, and mail a form back to your elections office.

In A Hurry?

Text KIPP to 56005 to register via phone.1

Am I Registered?

If you want to make an impact in every election, confirm your voter registration status:

Same Day Voter Registration

Same Day Voter Registration, known as Conditional Voter Registration in state law, is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information for an election.

Eligible citizens who need to register or re-register to vote within 14 days of an election can complete this process to register and vote at their county elections office, polling place, or vote center. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.

Visit for a list of early voting locations where you can complete the Same Day Voter Registration Process. 

Vote Informed

Learn more about who and what is on the ballot and the potential impact of propositions in our communities, by visiting this nonpartisan site, BallotPedia.

  • Explore. Dive into the background and opinions of every candidate.
  • Save. Find a reason to vote for every office on the ballot, and save your choices as you go.
  • Vote. If voting at the polls, breeze through the ballot box by bringing your voter guide with you.

Make A Plan

How will you vote in this election?

Option 1: Vote By Mail

Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-64-20, which, among other things, orders that all registered voters in California receive a ballot by mail prior to the November 3, 2020 General Election to ensure a safe and accessible voting option during the COVID-19 pandemic. Registered voters do not have to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot for this election, unless you want your ballot sent to a different address than where you are registered.

In your Vote By Mail packet, you will find a ballot card, a return envelope, a list of Vote By Mail Drop Box locations, and an "I Voted" sticker.

  1. Fill out your ballot, and make sure to follow the instructions exactly.
  2. After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope.
  3. You may return your voted ballot by mail, in person, or to a drop box:
    • If you are returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 17 days after Election Day.
    • If you are returning your ballot in person or dropping it in a drop box, it must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on November 3rd.
    • Anyone may return your ballot for you, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis. In order for your ballot to be counted, you must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of your ballot envelope.

If you decide to vote by mail, you should know that the risk of fraud is low. Five states conduct all their elections by mail, and millions of Americans vote by mail via absentee ballots every year. 

To request a Multilingual Ballot in Los Angeles County (available in 12 languages including Spanish), please call (800) 815-2666, option 3.

Note: The Postal Service has warned that there could be delays in delivery of ballots, so request your ballot as soon as possible or at least 30 days before Election Day. Election experts and officials are urging voters to get their ballots in early to make sure they get counted.

Option 2: Drop Off Your Mail-In Ballot

There is another option for people who feel unsafe about voting in person but still fear that the USPS will be unable to deliver a “mail-in” ballot in a timely fashion. There is a way around it:

  1. Request a mail-in ballot.
  2. Do not mail it.
  3. Google your supervisor of elections to see where you can drop off your mail-in ballot. It's usually not the polling place. All states allow this!

Make sure to visit Where’s My Ballot? as it lets voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way.

Option 3: Vote In Person

You can, of course, still vote in person. Even people who requested a ballot but haven’t mailed it in can vote in person in some states. Voting locations will offer voter registration, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines, and language assistance.

  • Early Voting Locations: For a full of California locations, view here.
  • Election Day Polling Locations: For a full of California locations, view here.
  • What To Bring To The Polls:
    • If you've voted in California before, you don't need to show ID.
    • If you're a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn't include your driver's license number, California ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration, you may be asked to provide ID when you vote. Acceptable forms include: copy of a recent utility bill, the sample ballot booklet you received from your county elections office or another document sent to you by a government agency, a US passport, driver license, official state identification card, or student identification card showing your name and photograph.
    • Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot.
    • Find out more or receive voter ID help through Vote Riders.

Key Dates To Remember

  • October 5 - November 2, 2020: Early voting period but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
  • October 19, 2020: Deadline to register online to vote
  • October 19, 2020: Deadline for registering to vote by mail
  • November 3, 2020: Deadline for registering to vote in person 
  • November 3, 2020: Election Day
    • You can also register and vote on Election Day.

“When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something,” said former U.S. Former Representative, John Lewis. Now more than ever your voice counts. Your vote matters.


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